“100 Thousand Poets for Change” event has been undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, creative experiences for me.
My activity on this worldwide movement started on May 2011, when I accepted an invitation by Michael Rothenberg, the great inspirer of this poetic mobilization, along with Terri Carrion. Michael found me in a period where massive protests and strikes were taking place all over Greece because of the harsh austerity measures, a period where almost every square in Greece was occupied by passionate people working in assemblies for change, where art, music, poetry were important integral pieces of our daily meetings on the streets.
Consequently, joining such a movement for me and for all the other poets and artists who participated at least here in Greece, had a real significance from both political and social side, reflecting our great need for a more fair economic and social future for the people, struggling against the inequalities that plague not only our country but the whole world. So, this event was a nice chance for poets, artists, activists around the world to join their voices all at the same time, the same day, in order to raise public awareness making clear the message for a non-violent, sustainable world.
The event here at Volos, Greece, was unexpectedly quite grand, as we accepted quite much participation of poets and other artists. That is why, we organized a three-day event, 22-24th September 2011. I did the planning and organizing and Xanthos Vlahos did all the technical support, he was also a main musician of the event. In order to have the best result in our efforts we organized most of the participants in teams which worked almost autonomously for the event.
On the first day, 22nd September, the readings took place at the Center of Arts of the city. It was an event of composed poetry, where poet Kyriakos Kytoudis recited poems and after that, Nikoleta Giannoutaki was singing the composed versions accompanied by the classical guitarist Yorgos Foudoulis. Me and poetess Nicky Papadouli also recited our poems regarding activism. Other poets participating by their poems in this event were Maro Vlahaki , Sinioritsa Sklavou-Karagiannaki and Padelis Skafidas.
The second event took place at the café Podilatissa, a poetry night with live jazz music played by Andreas Papagiannakopoulos and Nikos Koukouvinos. All the above poets participated. In addition, there were poets and authors of the Book-Crossing team of Volos organized by Christos Salatas, some of the poets’ names: Dimitris Kitsios, Spyros Makrigiannis, Chrysoula Papaevagellou, Despoina Lappa-Kontou, Anna Maria Tsikrikoni-Katsarou , Maria Arfe, Maria Ilia and Marina Tsoutsoulopoulou. The team of Volos Poetry Slam joined as well, organized by poetess Elena Psaralidou. Some of the poets’ names in this team: Katerina Zouzoula, Eleni Karavasili, Sirona Medicus, Elli Samalidou and Aggelos Papaioannou-”The poet from Pelion”.
Also, there to read their poetry and prose Panagiotis Theotokis Lakkas and Panos Angel, young and very promising poets who also helped me really much with the whole organizing. On 24th September it (Two days later) was the big day of the worldwide readings, so great energy for all of us uniting our voices across the globe, such a beautiful feeling. We started the event at noon on the promenade by the sea. It is a central spot where so much people gather in weekends, so the audience was quite big, thus we could give them the chance to participate in interactive events. So, we started our activities with street-art graffiti by Panos Angel, Raziel and Telamonios, while passers-by were writing poems along with the poets on the streets or banners that we hung on walls.
Activists of the Greek Rescue Team painted a big banner writing a Nikos Kazantzakis quote: "Say me, just me alone ought to save the Earth... If it won't be saved, it is my fault…" And after that, they hung the banner high up the University’s wall by rappelling. We had invited the members of the Greek Rescue Team, and also the Organization of physically challenged “Ippokampos” to build there, at the location of the event, information kiosks. Then we ha
d a stage where activists gave some speeches and poets were reading their poems from the noon till midnight. All the above poets of the two past events participated, as well as Odysseas Milios, Ilias Kalle, Michael Balaroutsos, Toxoliros, Stelina Apostolopoulou, Odysseas Nasiopoulos and Manos Tsemperlis -the “story-teller”. Some of the activists that helped us very much with the whole event were: Tatiana Iliopoulou, Dora Moutsiou, Alexandros Chatziharalampous, Rea Charitaki , Alba Espada and Katerina Yialetzi.
The subjects of all the poetic readings and speeches were mostly based on peace and sustainability. They were also concerning the destruction of the environment, the nuclear threat, people physically or mentally challenged, human rights, racism, immigrants, human trafficking, the change that begins from inside us; also there were subjects about how to be more active citizens in our everyday lives, about volunteerism, about drug addiction, marginalization, about the defects of the educational and health system, unemployment, work conditions, and of course we focused much on the contemporary revolutionary movements around the globe, also war, social inequalities, youth and dead-ends, dreams and hopes for the future and the worldwide demand for CHANGE. These were all in all the themes of the poetic readings. At the same time, when the readings were taking place, there was a huge screen by the stage which was playing either mute live-streaming of other 100TPC events around the world or graffiti messages of people on walls and other strong images that had to do with our subjects.
In the intervals of the readings we had some really amazing Greek rock bands playing music: Mousikoi Ixnilates, Apostolos Mosios and Christos Liouris, as well as Vermillion. Also, in some breaks we played 100TPC video spots, music video clips such as from Trainspotting film, Muse’s “Uprising”, Kenny Arkana’s “La rage”, we also played the “Greek revolution” and “Spanish revolution” spots of the Indignados movements in 2011, a Mr Freeman’s video, also a speech of Krishnamurti on changing ourselves, the wonderful speech of Charlie Chaplin in the film “The Great Dictator”, as well as the radical speech of “V” in “V for Vendetta” film, followed by a strong break-dance show on the stage, where the dancers had on Guy Fawkes masks. The dancers’ team was organized by Bboydori (Dorjan Tafa), and the dancers who participated were Alexandros Tsaras, Soumela Makanika, Magda Samara and Giannis Terpo.
We finished the event speaking out loud about our dreams, having imposing, thrilling music as a background. One by one all the participants were coming up on stage telling us what is their dream for the world. That was really one of the most moving moments of the whole event I can say. In the end, that it was already midnight, we all thanked the people who joined us that day and then we played the last 15min film which was talking about the global revolution which is quite imminent and that is coming through the gradual raise of our consciousness.
After that, there was a swing party for the poets and everyone else who had joined, at “Au bord de l’eau” bar, which was organized by Michael Balaroutsos. So, we ended our night so joyfully, though we were all tired, but still charged with much positive energy. Everyone could watch the above events on-line because we had a live-streaming with Bambuser on daily basis.
Now, as far as the logistics of the whole 3-day event are concerned, we spent around 1500 Euros. This cost regarded the stage, the lights, the sound systems and supplies like the paper, banners and sprays that we used for the graffiti. Two months before the event, we had talked with the municipality of the city, I had given them the whole event plan with a budget of less than 2000 Euros so they could help us, they initially had agreed and I trusted them, but just 10 days before the event I found out that finally they would only give us almost the 25% of the initially planned budget.
So we were suddenly forced to lower our expenses and we had to find some private sponsors in only 2 days. That was a really hard problem that we faced during the organizing, regarding the financial crisis in the private sector in Greece, it was really difficult to find private businesses that would finance all this and we had such little time ahead of us, otherwise we had to change our whole plans of the event. But we finally made it! Everyone who worked for the event, all of us who participated, poets, activists, painters, dancers, musicians, and all other artists and everyone else, we were volunteers working really hard on this. I have to thank Odysseas Milios who made our great posters for the event, his help was really significant, as well as Grapheteria that offered us to print all the posters and flyers that we needed for free.
All the sponsors, also photos and other facts regarding the event can be found on Volos- Greece page at 100TPC blog, www.100TPC.org
I was also happy to cooperate with other poets and artists around Greece and Europe, to whom I proposed organizing events and they gladly accepted, growing that way that global poets’ network. One of them was the poet Faidon Alkinoos in Athens, where he did a great event at Veakio Theater with poets, musicians and painters. The help of Michael Balaroutsos was quite significant in this case, also writing almost daily about the 100TPC events on his blog, http://www.architecture-balar.com/
Also, I had cooperation with Rinio Kourdaki for the event of Florina-Maniaki Village by the Lake Vegoritida, which was focused on natural farming and sustainability. In addition, I cooperated with Lio Leiser in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he organized an event about change based on street-art graffiti. And finally, I also made contact with poetess Gita Meh, who took the initiative to be an organizer in Dubai.
On the whole, all this experience was really creative for me, it inspired me and it also gave me the chance to meet really interesting people through all the preparations. Moreover, it proved to be a really educating process both for the participants and the audience, and that was really one of our most important goals which was fulfilled in the end. That way I believe that we “touched” the inner core of people around us, raising their awareness, troubling and sensitizing them to global affairs and problems that have an inevitable strong impact on almost every human.
So, we are all very glad that this event will happen again in 2012 and we’ll have once more the chance all poets, artists, activists around the world to reunite our voices and dynamic poetic energies, all at the same time again, so well synchronized across the globe, in order to ignite the hot flame of change in humans’ heart and mind, towards a peaceful and sustainable world that we all deserve.
Simply because Me Loves You | Green door
Mother’s last breath
Simply because Me Loves You
(translated from Greek)
You're gonna touch my hand
And the lights of Cosmos will spread out into my soul
And a celestial deathly silence will give its place
To divine chants
You're gonna look me in the eyes again
And the Earth will seize your impulse
It will quake and spurt the lava
Again, you're gonna say to me “I love you”
The glow not going away from you, not even for a moment
And Nature will conspire with us
For a hunting to which no other has ever been alike
Along together we will run to capture life
Not ever letting it go away
And let us trap Peace under the dome of the Universe
And hook it tightly
Upon the sun rays and the arms of the stars
Thus like a veil, love will fall around humans
Just Simply because Me Loves You
Lethal waves gulping us to the toxic bottom
Where the corals have withered and thrown up on red murdered whales.
Trying to hold on a sun ray to save us
But we fall again, pull our hands 'cause they burn
Trying to swim to the oily surface
And our faces become black as we look at the sky
Breathing fog filled with tumors lurking
Trying to find emergency exit from the past
And the wheel will turn this time
Opening the green grand door
And those who hid paradise
Shall be closed outside forevermore
We refuse world NUCLEAR
We accept world NEW and CLEAR
And we hope this is enough clear to all.
Mother’s last breath
The naked tree read her thoughts...
she's asking a million "WHY?"...
Beauty has gone with the smoke,
painting her eyes with bleeding coal
Her child -her torturer- her demon weeped
As she tied her own eyes with a smooth scarf of silk,
taking a deep last polluted breath
The child still weeped
"But...execution is beyond my power", he uttered,
With tears in his eyes
Gun still in hand
..."I'd rather see you die slowly on this burnt piece of land"...
He said, then wiped his tears
And then turned his back to her empty existence
Put hands in pockets, now caressing gently his swollen wallet...
Earth alone, melting slowly through its children’s indifferent glances
Looking for chances
To resurrect from the bloodstained ashes
But…Mother, please… stay with me…